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Gannon Wrestlers Honored for Academics

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Gannon Wrestlers Honored for Academics

Postby Allen Brown » Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:51 pm

Dan Teliski, Assistant Director of Athletics for Media Relations

Gannon Wrestling Records Nation's 18th-Highest Team GPA; Five Golden Knights Named Academic All-Americans
ERIE, Pa. - The Gannon wrestling team has recorded the 18th-highest team grade point average in the country according to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association. In addition, five Golden Knights were named to the NCAA Division II All-Academic teams.

Gannon has recorded a team grade point average worthy of the nation's top 20 ten times since the 2000-01 academic year. The Golden Knights finished third nationally in 2000-01, fifth in 2011-12 and fifth in 2008-09. The program had a 3.107 team GPA last season. The grade point averages were calculated by averaging the cumulative GPA of 10 wrestlers of each team. Eight of those wrestlers must have competed in their team's NCAA Division II regional.

Matt Turek (Madison, Ohio/Madison) and Zack Zelcs (Ridgway, Pa./Ridgway) were named to the All-Academic first team. Corey Fitzgerald (Uniontown, Ohio/Green), Alex Shaffer (Mercer, Pa./Mercer) and Aaron Smith (Conneaut Lake, Pa./Conneaut Lake) earned honorable-mention accolades. Gannon wrestlers have earned 45 NCAA Division II All-Academic honors during the last eight years.

Turek became a four-time All-Academic selection, including three consecutive first-team honors after a second-team accolade in 2012. Also a two-time Capital One Academic All-American, the redshirt senior owned a 3.46 cumulative grade point average as an accounting major. He was named a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Scholar-Athlete and received the NCAA Division II Athletics Directors Association (ADA) Academic Achievement Award every year during his collegiate career.

The Madison, Ohio, native posted an 18-4 overall record and 11-1 dual mark last season. Turek's 2014-15 resume included two pins, three technical falls and six major decisions. Ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II Super Region One for the majority of the season and nationally-ranked all year, Turek qualified for the national championships three times. He is a two-time All-American, finishing eighth nationally as a sophomore and fourth as a junior. His junior finish was the highest by a 125-pound wrestler in school history.

Turek concluded his collegiate career tied for sixth all-time at Gannon with 98 career victories. He ranks 11th all-time at Gannon with a .690 career winning percentage (98-44).

Zelcs was named to an All-Academic team for the second consecutive season. The redshirt senior held a 3.12 GPA as an accounting and finance major. He qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championships every season during his four-year collegiate career.

The Ridgway, Pa., native was ranked regionally throughout the season at both 174 and 184 pounds. After missing the first semester due to an injury, he went 6-1 while wrestling as a 184-pounder before bumping down to 174 where he won five of eight matches. Overall, Zelcs finished 11-4 with a 7-1 dual record.

Zelcs earned all-america honors with an eighth-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championships, opening the event with an 8-3 victory against the fourth-ranked wrestler in the country. Zelcs finished 15-4 overall and 11-1 in dual meets in 2012-13. His 15 victories included two technical falls and five major decisions.

Fitzgerald secured his first career All-Academic award as a sport and exercise science major with a 3.39 cumulative grade point average. The redshirt sophomore has been named a PSAC Scholar-Athlete every year. He went 7-8 last season while wrestling at invitationals and opens as a 174-pounder.

The Uniontown, Ohio, native finished seventh at the Mount Union Invitational with a 3-2 record. Fitzgerald also posted two victories at the Ashland Open.

Shaffer is another first-time All-Academic team selection. An electrical engineering major with a 3.86 cum GPA, he has been named a PSAC Scholar-Athlete every year.

The Mercer, Pa., native went 5-8 at 157 pounds during his second collegiate season in 2014-15. Shaffer ended his campaign with two victories at both the Ashland Open and Purple Raider Open. Two of those four victories came via a pin.

Smith completes Gannon trio of first-time All-Academic selections. The redshirt junior achieved all-academic status with a 3.26 cumulative grade point average as a criminal justice major. He has also been named a PSAC Scholar-Athlete every year at Gannon.

The Conneaut Lake, Pa., native was one of Gannon's dual-meet starters this season at 133 pounds. Smith finished 15-13 overall and 7-5 in dual bouts. He was steady throughout the season, never losing more than two matches in a row. Smith won four of his last six bouts, including a 2-2 mark at the NCAA Division II Super Regional One.

A total of 237 student-athletes from 48 institutions were selected to the 2014-15 Division II All-Academic Wrestling Teams. Thirty-eight members were named to the first team, 55 to the second team and 144 earned honorable-mention honors.

In order for a student-athlete to be nominated for the Division II All-Academic team, he must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale. He must also be in at least his second full year at his school, be a varsity member on his team or a key reserve, demonstrate a degree of skill and have a minimum of two letters of recommendation (academic advisor and coach) submitted on his behalf.
Allen Brown


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